Murder, attempt to murder charges against 26 anti-CAA protestors withdrawn in Uttar Pradesh
The Rampur district administration in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday dropped charges of murder and attempt to murder against 26 out of 34 people arrested during the protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register for Citizens (NRC) on December 21 last year. This comes days after a sessions court in Bijnor dropped charges of rioting and attempt to murder, and granted bail to the two accused arrested last month.
In an application moved before the court here on Tuesday, the investigating officer, Amar Singh said no case under section 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC could be made out against 26 out of the 34 arrested for the December 21 anti-CAA protest in the district in which one person was killed.
In a separate application, however, Singh added that proceedings under remaining sections which include rioting, assault and damage to public property against the offenders would continue.
“I had already assured that while no innocent would be booked, we will not spare the guilty at any cost,” said District Magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh, adding that the entire investigation was done on the basis of evidence.
“Most of those arrested for the violence, were so far relying on police assurances that they would be released soon if they were found innocent,” said the lawyer for the accused, Syed Amir Ali Miyan. Amir said he would move the bail application for at least six accused within a day or two.
One protester, Faiz Khan, was killed during the anti-CAA protests on December 21 while 34 persons were arrested by the police for violence that erupted near Haathi Khana Crossing in the district headquarters of Rampur town.
Twenty-four protestors were arrested under the Kotwali police station and they were charged under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force) and sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. Section 7 of the CLAA (Criminal Law Amendment Act) was also invoked against the protesters. Another 10 protesters were sent to jail by the Kotwali police station, under charges of rioting, assault on public servants and attempt to murder.
The court, while allowed bail to the two accused arrested last month, had said that the police failed to provide any evidence to show that accused possessed weapons and indulged in firing and arson, or that police personnel sustained any bullet injury during the protests to substantiate the attempt to murder charge.